|Publication number||US6871121 B2|
|Application number||US 10/265,848|
|Publication date||Mar 22, 2005|
|Filing date||Oct 7, 2002|
|Priority date||Oct 7, 2002|
|Also published as||US20040068350|
|Publication number||10265848, 265848, US 6871121 B2, US 6871121B2, US-B2-6871121, US6871121 B2, US6871121B2|
|Inventors||James B. Tomson|
|Original Assignee||Blink Engineering Corp.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (26), Non-Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (15), Classifications (4), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to a system for visualizing real-time vehicle data on-board a vehicle, and particularly to a system for visualizing real-time vehicle data on a display mounted in or on a vehicle for entertainment distinct from the dashboard instrumentation for operating a vehicle. The invention is useful for entertainment purposes where images on the display are of graphics, such as two or three-dimensional geometric object(s) or graphical model, which move at a speed, or change in shape, size, and/or color, in real-time in accordance with real-time changes in vehicle data, such as available via the on-board diagnostic port of the on-board vehicle computer.
In order to facilitate maintenance, diagnosis, and repair of vehicles, such as cars and trucks, vehicles have on-board diagnostics (OBD) available from the on-board vehicle computer which controls and monitors engine operation of most vehicles available today. The OBD is available through an OBD port located in the vehicle, which is coupled by a cable to computerized diagnostic machinery when the vehicle requires maintenance by repair technicians.
The OBD port uses a communication protocol and connector standard presently referred to as On-Board Diagnostic Level 2 (OBDII) published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) as an industry standard for vehicular diagnostics in all automobiles manufactured after 1996. The OBD port and vehicular information from this port, such as vehicle speed, engine RPM, or air intake temperature, has traditionally been limited for diagnostic and repair purposes. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,884,202 describes a modular wireless diagnostic test and information system having a vehicular communication interface to the OBD port, and a user interface and command module for diagnostic programs upon such data received from the OBD port and other wireless meters connected to the engine. Other uses for vehicular information from this OBD port have been suggested, but these have been for a complex in-car network using a software upgradeable dashboard, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,253,122. This patent provides graphical images of dashboard instruments, such as may be used by a person in operating the vehicle. It would be desirable to provide a system which graphically displays information from the OBD of a vehicle for entertainment purposes, rather than for diagnostic and repair of a vehicle or for dashboard instrumentation.
Although non-dashboard displays have been provided in vehicles for entertainment purposes, they are for TV, video or DVD players, or for playing electronic games, and thus do not provide visualization of graphics related to information from the OBD of the vehicle.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a system on-board a vehicle for visualizing on a display real-time vehicle data using vehicle information from the on-board vehicle computer for entertainment distinct from dashboard instrumentation for operating the vehicle.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a system for visualizing graphics on a display mountable on-board a vehicle having one or more characteristics updated in real-time in accordance with real-time acquired data from the vehicle computer representing one or more parameters of vehicle operation.
Briefly described, the entertainment system embodying the present invention includes a display mountable on-board the vehicle, and a visualization computer system for acquiring real-time data from the on-board vehicle computer system representing one or more parameters of vehicle operation, and visualizing images on the display having graphics with one or more characteristics updated in real-time in accordance with the acquired data, which is updated in real-time by the visualization computer system from the vehicle computer system. The parameters of vehicle operation may represents those available from the vehicle computer via a standard on-board diagnostic port of the vehicle, e.g., vehicle speed, engine RPM, or air intake temperature. The graphics can represents two or three dimensional geometric object(s) or a graphical model, and the characteristics updated may represent one or more of speed of movement, shape, size, or color of such objects or elements of the model.
In the preferred embodiment, the visualization computer is coupled to the OBD port of a vehicle through an interface that enables the visualization computer system to request and receive data from the vehicle computer. The interface may instead be connected directly to the OBD bus of the vehicle computer, or coupled to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) of the vehicle.
The images provide entertainment distinct from dashboard instrumentation of the vehicle, and for example, may represent, a rotating cube which changes in speed and/or color with vehicle speed and/or RPM, two or three-dimensional model of the vehicle engine in which the engine's pistons rise and fall at a rate proportional with RPMs, two or three-dimensional model of the vehicle having wheels which rotate proportional to vehicle speed, ricocheting three-dimensional spheres having ricochet rate related to vehicle speed, screen color change with air intake temperature level, or other two or three dimensional entertaining graphics, which would be impractical for a driver to use to operate a vehicle while in motion.
The foregoing objects, features and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from a reading of the following description in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
Although one display is illustrated, multiple displays may be used at different location mounted in the interior or along the exterior of the vehicle by splitting signals from video cable 18 to other cables coupled to other display(s). Also, the size of the display 14 may differ depending on its location on-board the vehicle, for example, door mounted display of
The visualization computer system 12 may represent a personal computer system, laptop computer, or any microprocessor based computer system programmed in accordance with the present invention. The visualization computer system 12 is located on-board the vehicle, such as in the trunk. The interface 16 is connected to the OBDII port 13 by an OBDII cable 19, which has a connector for engagement to the OBDII port. Also, the interface 16 is connected by serial cable 20, such as a DB9 serial cable, to a compatible serial port on the visualization computer system 12. The interface 16 may be located under the vehicle's dashboard, in the trunk, or elsewhere in the vehicle by proper sizing of the length of cables 19 and 20. The location of the OBD port 13 may be different in different vehicles, but often the port is located in the interior of the vehicle near the vehicle's steering column or elsewhere within three feet of the driver's seat.
The interface 16 enables data communication between the visualization computer system 12 to and from the OBD system of the vehicle computer 15, via the OBD port 13, by converting the serial communication protocol into OBD communication protocol and vice versa. For purposes of illustration, the invention is described as using On-Board Diagnostic Level 2 (OBDII) standard as set forth by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), however, other OBD standards may be used. Further, serial communication is described as RS232 serial communication, but other serial communication protocols may be used, such as via a USB. Interface 16 is commercially available from Multiplex Engineering, Inc. of Santa Barbara, Calif., and for example may be their interface for SAE standard J-1850, Part No. T16-002 or T16-003. This interface defines the communication protocol between the interface 16 and visualization computer 12. For the T16-002 or T16-003 Interface, the communication protocol between the automobile data bus (via the OBD port 13) and RS-232 can be found in the tech manual for this interface from Multiplex Engineering, Inc., at web site address, www.multiplexengineering.com/tech/manual. The interface 16 preferably is a separate component, but may alternatively be on a circuit card in visualization computer 12 without serial cable 20. The features of interface 16 will be more apparent from later discussion on operation of system 10. However, other interfaces may be used so long as they enable the visualization computer system to obtain data from the OBD system of an on-board vehicle computer.
Power is supplied to the display 14 and visual computer system 12 (and to interface 16, if needed) from the vehicle power supply or battery 17. This may be by power cables 21 connected to the power distribution system of the vehicle, such as used in typical car/audio visual equipment added to the vehicle after its manufacture, or via a power adapter to the cigarette lighter/power socket of the vehicle. One or more cigarette lighter/power sockets may be located in a vehicle.
The data acquisition process 23 enables acquiring of data in real-time from the vehicle computer 15, via the interface 16, representing one or more parameters of vehicle operation. The vehicle computer 15 may represent any typical vehicle computer system of a car, bus, truck, SUV, or other type of automobile, having typical sensors 15 a for sensing operation of the vehicle, and provides an OBD system accessible via an OBD port. The parameters of vehicle operation represents those available from the vehicle computer via the OBD port of the vehicle, as described by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Standard, such as, for example, J-1850, or other Standards published by the SAE for communication with OBDII compliant vehicles. Reference is made to SAE book No. HS-3000/99, entitled SAE On-Board Diagnostics for Light and Medium Duty Vehicle Standards Manual for Information on OBD Systems, OBD Communication, and the OBD Codes Available. As described below, the data acquisition process 23 using one of the OBD codes process serially requests a parameter of vehicle operation, for example, vehicle speed, engine RPM, air intake temperature, manifold pressure, coolant temperature, fuel pressure, and throttle position, but any other data typically available from a vehicle computer via the OBD port may also be requested. The executive process 22 defines a shared variable Vehicle Metric in shared memory 25, which represents a number or code representative of the parameter of the vehicle the data acquisition process 23 will obtain.
At step 34, the data acquisition process 23 sends the request message as a packet serially over the serial cable 20 to the interface 16, which receives and reads the different fields of the packet. If the security code in the Security field matches that stored in memory of the interface 16, then the interface formats and sends a request for the OBDII code in the OBD field using the communication protocol in accordance to the type of the Type field of the received message. The data acquisition process 23 then waits for a return message from interface 16 before sending the next request message.
If an invalid request message is received by the data acquisition process 23 from the interface 16 (step 36), the same request message is resent with the Communication Type field set to a different communication type, such as by indexing the value of this field to reference the next communication type (steps 37 and 34). This continues until a return message is received (step 38). At step 38, if no response is received from the interface 16 within a period, for example 3 seconds, a timeout has occurred, resulting in ceasing of system 10 operation, and the visualization computer 12 will need to be restarted once the cause of the cause of the failure (e.g., communication failure, such as cable 20 disconnects from OBD port 13) has been resolved. The return message includes a Header field, Verification field, Vehicle data field; and other vehicle manufacturer specific field(s). The data acquisition process waits on the serial line from interface 16 until it reads the proper header byte in the Header field of the return message. It then retrieves the value in the Vehicle Data field of the received return message (step 40), and a shared variable Vehicle Info in shared memory 25 is set to that value (step 42). For example, the value in the Vehicle Data field may be 14 bytes (112 bits) long. The data acquisition process 23 then formats and sends the next request message to interface 16 in accordance with the variable Vehicle Metric, as described above, with the value of the Communication Type field of the last request message successfully sent and received. This process repeats in this manner continuously updating in real-time variable Vehicle Info with the desired vehicle parameter. The fields of each return message other than the Header and Vehicle Data fields need not be used, however, data in the Verification field could be used by the data acquisition process 23 to verify the return message, such as providing a Checksum value of other data in the return message. Optionally, the executive process 22 may have another shared variable to instruct the data acquisition process 23 how many times to send the same request message before checking the variable Vehicle Metric for any change.
The data acquisition process 23 updates variable Vehicle Info in real time to provide real-time vehicle information while the vehicle is in operation. The rate of receiving return messages can differ for different vehicles. However, OBD operating rate is typically 10 times per second, thus the data acquisition process 23 can obtain 10 updates of the desired vehicle information in Vehicle Info every second. The data acquisition process 23 is also capable of operating at other OBD rates.
Operating in parallel with the data acquisition process 23, the visualization process 24 enables visualizing of images on the display having graphics with one or more characteristics updated in real-time in accordance with the value of Vehicle Info acquired by the data acquisition process 23. The visualization process 24 utilizes graphic application program(s) stored in memory 12 a of the visualization computer 12. These programs operate upon a set of input graphics parameters specifying points defining the lines or shapes of the graphics (screen pixel locations, and/or geometric values, e.g., diameters or sizes), color, and effects, such as lighting, shading, reflection, motion blurring, or degree of rotation for three-dimensional shaped objects, or other graphics, or patterns, for the particular graphics to be visualized.
The visualizing process 24 has a rendering process 26 for defining the input graphics parameter set, and a display process 27 for generating the graphics in accordance with this set. The system 10 may optionally allow a user to select one of different graphics for display. If so, the executive process 22 defines a shared variable Graphics Select in shared memory 25 which is set to a value in accordance with one of the selected graphics available in memory of the visualization computer. An optional user interface for enabling such selection is described later.
In one embodiment, the display process 27 utilizes OpenGL 3D libraries available from Silicon Graphics, Inc. to provide Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) stored in memory of the visualization computer. These APIs have defined set of input parameters for their graphics as set forth by the programming protocol for using such OpenGL 3D libraries. Reference is made to the book entitled, OpenGL Programming Guide 3rd Edition, Addison Wesley, 1999, on using this programming protocol. For example, the API's may define a rotating cube 28, such as shown in the display 14 of
Examples of graphics include, a rotating cube which changes in speed and/or color with vehicle speed and/or RPM, two or three-dimensional model of the vehicle engine in which the engine's pistons rise and fall at a rate proportional with RPMs, two or three-dimensional model of the vehicle having wheels at a rotation proportional to vehicle speed, ricocheting three-dimensional spheres having ricochet rate related to vehicle speed, screen color change with air intake temperature level, or other two or three dimensional entertaining graphics.
The rendering process 26 continuously checks the Vehicle Info value and updates the input graphics parameter set accordingly. This provides real-time changes in the graphics generated by the display process 27 in images on display 14. As data acquisition process 23 updates variable Vehicle Info at a rate slower (e.g., 10 times per sec.) than the rate graphics of the visualization process 24 are outputted to the display (e.g., 60 frames per sec.), the rendering process 26 uses the last value for Vehicle Info, until it detects that Vehicle Info has changed. Thus, graphics on different successive frames appear to smoothly transition on display 14.
Optionally, the system 10 may have a user interface provided by display 14 having a touch screen. The visualization computer 12 can output a graphical user interface (GUI) from its memory providing one or more screens having a list of the graphics available on system 10, and the user by touching areas of the screen associated with a particular graphics listed can selects such graphics, as typical of touch screen displays. The visualization computer 12 then sets the value of Graphics Select for the particular graphics selected. For example, various three dimensional objects may be selected such as a rotating three-dimensional cube(s), sphere(s), or other geometric shapes, two or three dimensional representations of fireworks, ricocheting spheres of or other objects, a two or three dimensional model of the vehicle's engine with moving elements such as pistons. Upon start up, a default graphics may be selected, which when visualized on the display, may be interrupted by the user touching the screen of the display, or the visualization computer can wait for input via the user interface.
Other user interfaces may also be provided, such as a wireless keypad for communication to the visualization computer, which has a wireless data communication interface to the keypad, to enable a user to select graphics shown as a list on the screen by entry of key strokes, or toggle through each of the graphics stored until a desired graphic is shown. In a further alternative, a configuration program may be provided from an optical or floppy disk in a drive of the visualization computer, specifying the desired input graphics parameter set of graphics and the graphical application program(s), which may be used by the visualization process. The configuration program setup may be defined on another computer system and stored on optical or floppy disk, which may then be loaded into the visualization computer system 12 at start up.
The above describes system 10 obtaining one vehicle parameter to effect characteristic(s) of the graphics in images outputted to the display 14. Multiple vehicle parameters may also be obtained and used to effect such graphics. This may be achieved by the executive process 22 setting each value of multiple shared variables for each of the multiple vehicle parameters, such as shared variables Vehicle Metric1, Vehicle Metric2, Vehicle MetricN, where N is the number of vehicle parameters to be obtained. The data acquisition process 23 sends successively a request message having the OBD code for each of the different shared variables Vehicle Metric1, Vehicle Metric2, . . . Vehicle MetricN. After a return message is received in response to each request message, the data acquisition process 23 updates the corresponding one of multiple shared variables Vehicle Info1, Vehicle Info2, . . . Vehicle InfoN, where N is the number of different vehicle parameters being obtained. The rendering process 26 reads shared variables Vehicle Info1, Vehicle Info2, . . . Vehicle InfoN, and uses one or more of them to effect different characteristics of the graphics in images outputted to the display. For example, in the case of two parameters being used to effect graphics, vehicle speed for Vehicle Info1 and air intake temperature for Vehicle Info2, then the results of return messages would be set as Vehicle Info1 and Vehicle Info2, respectively. In this example, changes in vehicle speed may effect speed of rotation or movement of object(s) or elements in the image, and air intake temperature may effect brightness of the color red in the image.
Optionally, when certain parameters change more frequently than others, the parameters changing more frequently can be the subject of more request messages every interval, such as a second, than those obtained which change less frequently. This may be achieved by providing shared weight variables Weight1, Weight2, . . . WeightN corresponding to each of the multiple shared variables Vehicle Info1, Vehicle Info2, . . . Vehicle InfoN, respectively, to define how many times the same request will be repeated in an interval for each vehicle parameter. In the example mentioned above, vehicle speed may change more frequently than air intake temperature, thus, Weight1 may be 9 (or 0.9) and Weight2 set to 1 (or 0.1), and in the case where ten request messages are sent every interval, in each interval the first nine would request OBD code for Vehicle Info1 and the last one request OBD code for Vehicle Info2.
The visualization computer 12 is shown in
The system 10 can easily be attached to a vehicle by coupling of the visualization computer 12 via interface 16 to OBD port 13 (or direct to the internal OBD bus, or via the ECU), and mounting display 14 to a desired location in or on the vehicle. In contrast with traditional use of OBD for vehicle diagnostic, repair, and maintenance by vehicle repair technicians, the system enables entertaining display of graphics to occupants of the vehicle (or viewers of the vehicle if exterior display(s) are used) distinct and located separate from dashboard instruments, such as the speedometer or RPM gauge used to operate the vehicle.
Optionally, additional sensor(s) 54 (
From the foregoing description, it will be apparent that an entertainment system for visualizing on a display real-time vehicle data on-board a vehicle has been provided. Variations and modifications of the herein described system will undoubtedly suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the foregoing description should be taken as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
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|Oct 7, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BLINK ENGINEERING CORP., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TOMSON, JAMES B.;REEL/FRAME:013381/0382
Effective date: 20021004
|Jan 4, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TOMSON, JAMES B., NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BLINK ENGINEERING CORP.;REEL/FRAME:017366/0896
Effective date: 20051222
|Sep 22, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Nov 5, 2012||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Mar 22, 2013||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|May 14, 2013||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20130322